A building company boss has been fined after a worker was left seriously injured when he fell through a roof and fractured his skull.
Wick Sheriff Court was told the employee’s life has “irrevocably changed” and he has been left unable to work and suffers memory loss.
William Swanson, who traded as LTS Construction at the time of the incident at Wester Olrig Farm, Thurso, has now pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety rules.
The court heard that Swanson and two employees were replacing damaged cement roof sheets and Perspex roof lights of a grain store.
Using a ladder to access the roof, one employee walked across the bolts that fixed the sheets onto the steel battens.
However, the second employee went up a few minutes afterwards and stepped onto a moss-covered Perspex roof light, which gave way and caused him to fall around four and a half metres onto the concrete floor below.
The man suffered a fractured skull and broke his pelvis, ribs and wrist as a result of the fall.
He has not worked since the accident – on September 25 2019 – and remains under the care of an orthopaedic specialist as well as suffering from short term memory loss.
Pleaded guilty at earliest opportunity
LTS Construction ceased trading in August of last year.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found Swanson, of Wick, had failed to ensure work was properly planned.
It also detailed measures that weren’t in place to mitigate potential risk associated with the work.
These included perimeter edge protection, crawling boards or staging to spread the weight of workers on the roof, and safety nets beneath the roof work area.
Swanson, who had pled guilty at the earliest opportunity, was fined £2,000.
Alistair Duncan, the head of the Health and Safety Investigation Unit, said: “This was an accident that resulted in severe injuries that could have been avoided if William Swanson had put in place the appropriate planning and protective measures.
“This incident could well have proved fatal and it has irrevocably changed a man’s life.
“Falls from height are usually the greatest single cause of death and serious injury to workers within the construction industry.
“Hopefully this prosecution will remind other employers that failure to fulfil their obligations can have severe and potentially tragic consequences and that they will be held to account for their failings.”